*Rated PG for language*
If you’re like me, 2018 concluded with a solid resolution not to use plastic straws. It was quickly followed by curiosity as to why straws are getting all the attention when there are so many other things to choose from, like liquid soap bottles, and soap pumps that can’t be recycled. (There are these things called bars of soap, often packaged in recyclable paper.) And what about all the bags businesses pressure purchases into, including a gift bag, which is a bag? Why do I need a bag for a bag?
About those plastic straws, I looked into how it has become the latest eco movement (#SkipTheStraw) and here’s what’s up: NFL Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn’t use them. If Brady doesn’t use straws, I sure as heck don’t want to be caught sucking on one. According to the article:
The link above includes graphic, heart-wrenching footage of a straw being pulled out of the nostril of a sea turtle.
Heavy: As often as I remind myself to give good odds to a positive outcome, reflecting on the past year is like reflecting on all of humanity, and much of it feels like a staggering slug to the soul….
It took a couple days of dedicated reading (seriously, like, five days), but I made it through the dense, 30,000-word piece in the New York Times, Losing Earth. Browsing reactions to the article, I found this comment by Richard Yates:
The broad story of our evolution, as it will be explained in the Intergalactic Museum, may be that an oddly intelligent primate discovered technology far to[sic] soon to be able to avoid self-extinction by its very use.
A similar concept to an Intergalactic Museum (It’s a thing. I googled it.) has been flipping around in my mind, though I hadn’t thought to label it as such. I sense that this experiment – if you will – of humans on Earth in a Galaxy is coming to the cosmic equivalent of an end. While it might still be a while away, on a scale of cosmic time in which our existence is less than a blink, yeah, we’re nearly done.
A criticism of the article is its declaration that we are all at fault for global warming. Of course, we all are. We willingly inject poison into our bodies in the form of hotdogs, Botox, and e-cigarettes. Why would we treat our Earth better? Mighty powerful players had a disproportionate share of influence through politics and policy, but if you’ve bought the new, “biggest ever” Subaru or anything less fuel-efficient, you’re at fault. If you have a non-native green grass lawn in the desert, you’re at fault. If you buy groceries on Amazon, you’re suffocating the Earth with a horrifyingly excessive shit-ton of packaging, so yeah, you’re at fault. I know this comes off as finger wagging, but I’m looking in the mirror, too.
Curious again, this time about how Amazon founder, chairman, CEO, and president Jeff Bezos, who has four children who will live through the consequences of their father’s actions, could offer such a service, I found some interesting details about him. He is also the founder of Blue Origin, which states on its website:
…we believe that in order to preserve Earth, our home, for our grandchildren’s grandchildren, we must go to space to tap its unlimited resources and energy.
Bezos is apparently hustling to accumulate as much wealth as he can on this planet so he can travel off it. Maybe he’s trying to save us all. Maybe he’s been listening to the cli-fi (think sci-fi, but climate-themed fiction) collection of seven short Kindle books on Amazon, titled Warmer. Katy Waldman gives a thought-provoking review of the collection in which she mentions something about “chart[ing] a path between hope and hopelessness.” Which pretty much sums up my daily challenge. How about you?
Another Sports Reference: New Year’s resolutions have me pondering whether assholes can change. An interview segment with Lance Armstrong on a morning show in December has me figuring maybe, but Armstrong hasn’t. I’m curious if, after surviving cancer, he thought, “I can survive anything!” and if he felt that way when he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Clearly, surviving cancer didn’t make him a better person, though. It made him devise a plan to cheat like hell and make a bunch of people miserable. It was clear in the recent interview that he continues to view himself a victim. Meanwhile, many people still consider themselves his victims.
Heart-wrenching News in Cycling: Just before the New Year, Paul Sherwen passed away in his sleep due to heart failure. If you’re addicted to pro cycling, you watch an insane number of hours of broadcasting during which very little happens in terms of what the average person considers “action.” Consequently, viewers get to know the commentators especially well, and Sherwen was exceptional. There are two or three other commentators who will do well in his place, but what will the broadcast of the Tour of California and especially the Tour de France, along with the rest of the season, be without him?
Drumroll Please: My vote for 2018 Athlete with the Most Class is Serena Williams. Please check out this article. Damn. (If you want to know more, check out Roxane Gay and if you want to read a more pop culture/sports-referencing style, read Gabrielle Union’s book, We’re Going to Need More Wine. Gay is a professor and Union is an actor married to NBA superstar Dwyane Wade. Get woke.)
About the US Open: Fans literally booed winner Naomi Osaka after she defeated Serena. On the podium, Serena consoled Osaka and on her behalf, pleaded with fans, “No more booing!” (Osaka, the first Japanese person – male or female – to win the Open, said she had always dreamed of playing Serena in the US Open finals. When her dream became reality, she found herself apologizing to fans that it didn’t turn out the way they wanted.)
Serena recently played Roger Federer in a doubles match. In a courtside interview afterward, she and Federer were both all class – a refreshing contrast to the gender-related muck the country has been trudging through.
While 2018 has been called everything from a real dick of a year to pure shit, there is one guy who’s happy as all hell about it: 2018 is when Tiger Woods won a tournament for the first time in five years. God I love sports for the stories of athletes who don’t have the good sense to give up, and eventually succeed.
If you still need one, claim this New Year’s resolution: First-time Slam winner of the French Open, Romanian Simona Halep, told American Sloan Stephens, Take care of your body. It sounded atypical coming from one elite pro athlete to another elite pro athlete on such a public stage, during a podium speech, but it was obviously inspired.
May your path in 2019 inspire more hope than hopelessness. Take care of your body; take care of your home.